Sir Bradley Wiggins rode away from the velodrome after Paris-Roubaix and his Team Sky career with his head held high. He did not win the French Classic, but said his attack was the stuff of his boyhood dreams when growing up in London.
Rivals marked Wiggins move on the Templeuve sector with 33km left to race, but he marked the day. He also attacked again with around 4km remaining and held on to finish 18th in Roubaix’s famous velodrome.
“When I attacked, I was right up the back of the motorbikes and it was like I was 16 again, training on the mews outside my house, thinking I was it,” Wiggins said.
“That was nice. Something to tell the kids. ‘Your Dad was s**t at Paris-Roubaix, but he was leading it at one stage. Well, not leading it, but leading the main group.'”
Welsh team-mate Luke Rowe finished eighth, Britain and Sky’s best placed rider after Geraint Thomas crashed and abandoned earlier in the race.
German John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) won the race, his second monument of the year after Milan-San Remo. Rowe finished right behind Degenkolb’s group and Wiggins was in the next group at 31 seconds.
Wiggins tried to shake his rivals, but found little cooperation with Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal), and Etixx – Quick-Step’s Stijn Vandenbergh and Zdenek Stybar.
“I was pleased with the race, you know? Just to be able to attack in Roubaix. I had a go where I told the team this morning I was going to have a go,” added Wiggins.
“I was in a pretty good position. No one really expected it there. I was just lumbered with a few people who didn’t want to work. I think the right winner won, in John, but it was a bit soft in the final. It wasn’t one of the classic [editions of] Roubaix. It was all a bit ‘looking at each other’, a bit soft. It would have been nice to have a bit of a [Franco] Ballerini from 20 years ago.”
Wiggins said that he had the legs to win the ‘Queen of the Classics’ today, but admitted his rivals in the lead group were also looking strong.
“Yeah I did. I think everyone in that group did,” added Wiggins.
“I said on the bus that when I went it was a bit, like, panic stations. I guess that’s a bit of the hype, you know, when you say you are up for it. It is what it is. But I’m just pleased with the way the race went personally.”
An exclusive look at Geraint Thomas’s Pinarello K8-S